Pennsylvania law allows for self defense to be used in two (2) circumstances: when the actor is using force to defend himself and when the actor is using force to defend others.
Criminal defense attorneys in Pennsylvania may approach drug charges in a number of ways. Sometimes they will advocate on behalf of their clients by questioning the accuracy or reliability of evidence such as witness statements or laboratory analysis, and in other cases they may question the actions of law enforcement officers or dispute the facts as presented by prosecutors.
Pennsylvania law provides for prosecution of individuals who are required to register under sexual offender requirements, but who knowingly fail to register. Accordingly, this law makes it a crime for an individual to knowingly fail to: 1. register with the PA State Police; 2. verify his residence or be photographed as required; 3. provide accurate information when registering or verifying a residence.
Pennsylvania law for Driving Under the Influence requires that the person be operating a motor vehicle. Courts look to a number of factors to determine whether a person is "operating" or "in actual physical control of a motor vehicle." As stated, the courts do not employ a bright-line test, rather the courts look to the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the Commonwealth can prove operation of a vehicle.
Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 586 allows the Court to dismiss charges against a defendant in cases (usually theft-related offenses) where a case meets certain elements. Obviously, dismissal of the charges is done through agreement between the parties and at the allowance of the presiding judge. The statutory factors that must be satisfied are: 1. the offense was not committed through the use of force or violance or threat thereof, 2. the public interest will not be adversely affected, 3. the attorney for the Commonwealth consents, and 4. satisfaction has been made to the aggrieved person or there is an agreement that satisfaction will be made to the aggrieved person.
People in Pennsylvania can be criminally charged for possession of drug paraphernalia even if they are not found with any controlled substances. Under federal law, an individual may be handed drug paraphernalia charges if they are found selling, attempt to sell, mailing, transporting, importing or exporting drug paraphernalia. In some cases, a person could also face charges if they are simply found to be in possession of drug paraphernalia.
Under Pennsylvania law, unless the crime alleged to have been committed is murder, voluntary manslaughter, or conspiracy to commit murder, the Commonwealth is required to commence prosecution within a certain period of time. Statute of limitations, although similar, is actually separate and distinct from Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 600 dealing with speedy trial.